tv Charlie Rose PBS November 13, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PST
>> rose: welcome to the program. we begin this evening with the fighting in iraq. here's a report from charlie hebdcharlied'agata in cbs news. >> the bat toll reclaim sinjar began in the air. i.s.i.s. targets were pounded throughout the day. smoke hung over the city as i.s.i.s. lit tires to try to block the bombers sight. coordinates were passed to u.s. advisors. soldiers said, with aircraft overhead, sometimes it's five minutes from the time they call nil till the time it's delivered. kurdish fighters are so close to i.s.i.s. militants they can hear conversations on simple two-way
radios. there is an airplane in the air, the boid. stop, hide. sniper is watching. they're inside houses, he told us, they move from house to house, they're behind the rubble. he and his family fled sinjar when i.s.i.s. militants overran the city 15 months ago. tens of thousands were uprooted in the terror that followed as i.s.i.s. murdered, raped and enslaved members of the y yazidi sect. the fight some starting. as the day wore on, kurdish soldiers spotted more i.s.i.s. militants on the move and scrambled into motion. he says he hopes i.s.i.s. will be defeated and his family can return home. when do you think
you will liberate sinjar? "hopefully tonight," he said. this fight is going from house to house and peshmerga soldiers said they expect snipers, car bombs and booby traps, not only roadside bombs but inside buildings as they push further into the city. >> rose: also a snapshot of the political races with major garrett of cbs news. >> bernie sanders is saying the same thing he said in politics 20 years ago. the democratic party has moved in his direction, so he resonates in ways he never did before. bernie sanders spent years and years and years on the outer hinter-land of the democratic party on many key issues. now he's not. >> rose: we conclude with a conversation about architecture with frank gehry and paul goldberger. >> as we approach each new
adventure, problem, thing to conquer, you can't come in overly confident or you blow it. and, so, there's a kind of healthy insecurity. i'm doing a house in merling, california, which is a new thing, and i have sleepless nights and i dream about this thing and i can't get it and i'm suffering, suffering to the point of looking in the mirror and saying, do i really know anything? >> rose: fighting in iraq, politics in iowa and an american icon, when we continue. >> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by: american express. >> rose: additional funding provided by:
>> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: joining me on the phone from iraq is cbs news correspondent charlie d'agata embedded with the troops there in the fight against i.s.i.s. charlie, tell me what you've seen and heard today and what is the future of the fight for sinjar? >> charlie, all day, what we've seen mostly is the tremendous airstrikes, by u.s.-led coalition striking, dozens, mt. sinjar. we are on mt. sinjar so we have a good vantage point over the entire city. it was relentless throughout last night and from the dawn this morning, air strike after
air strike targeting positions inside sinjar and peshmerga forces are taking position on the mountain and firing artillery in addition. this morning, we watched as thousands of peshmerga forces took these roads down the mountain into the city itself and they were in every vehicle you can imagine. in humvee's, armored vehicles, people in back of pickups with machine guns. ordinary civilians, volunteers who are charging to the front lines to talk on i.s.i.s., something like 7,500 peshmerga is what they're estimating, and they have been fighting all day. small arms fire, machine gunfire in and out of the city and it's
been raging into the evening including air strikes. it's long after dark here. >> rose: how long will it take them to take sinjar? >> taking sinjar is one question and holding sinjar is another. although i.s.i.s. was fighting and resisting on either side to the east and to the west with these major offenses had begun and they were being pummeled by airstrikes, they're still fighting back. the peshmerga soldiers tha said sniper fire is one thing they're worried about, they're worried about car and truck bombs charging toward the checkpoints and we're seeing them in the city. in addition to that, they believe the whole city is booby trapped. so the roadside bombs, homemade bombs on the road and inside to have the building. so clearing i.s.i.s. out may take a couple of days, maybe not more than that. but clearing the city of the dangers that exist and lurk will take enough longer. >> rose: how effective have been the american airstrikes? >> when you speak to peshmerga
commanders, they said they could not do it without america and its allies, they would not be able to move against i.s.i.s. forces. even when we speak to the soldiers on the ground, they say when those i.s.i.s. guys hear the jets in the air, they run for cover, they hide into tunnels and get away because they don't want and can't face it. of course, many say they want to die on the battlefield and as martyrs, but they know they will be struck dead with these airstrikes, so they do go running, and that opens the opportunity for peshmerga to then use their own ways of moving in on the city. so they could don't without it. they certainly couldn't try to take sinjar, if not for the help of u.s. airstrikes and allies. >> rose: is sinjar the first step in retaking mosul? >> it is. even when you speak to peshmerga commanders here, that's precisely the question we put to them, and it's for a couple of reasons. it's kind of where sinjar sits.
it's right in the middle of the i.s.i.s. strong hold in syria in raqqah. the commanders say we'll take sinjar first, break the supply lines between the two i.s.i.s. strong holds and look at cities like tal afar and mosul. so they will be looking at the success if it continues to go the way it is for peshmerga forces and then learning the lesson that they've learned here, saying the way if i.s.i.s. is to be defeated how they can then apply that to mosul which is going to be a much harder offensive. >> rose: one last question, any possibility that iraqi troops will join them? >> in sinjar or mosul? >> rose: both. probably not in sinjar. certainly, we haven't seen that. we have seen the sirkurdish forces who have joined the fight with kurdish forces. it's a sticky issue when it
comes to mosul. the kurds and the peshmerga forces are very proud and proud of the victories they have had against i.s.i.s. but they don't have to work with iraqi forces. i've seen both sides of them working when they liberated or took control of the mosul dam and there was tension between the two forces, they fought from one side to to ther in defeating i.s.i.s., they're going to have to find a level of coordination to apply it to mosul but can't do it without each other, that's for certain. >> rose: charlie d'agata is on the ground in iraq. thank you. >> thank you. >> rose: turning to politics and the 2016 campaign, it is a big week for debate. the republican candidates met for a fourth time on tuesday in milwaukee while the democrats face off saturday in des moines. joining me from outside the debate hall at drake university is major garrett, the chief white house correspondent for cbs news and i am pleased to have him on this program.
major, every week, we take a look at the snapshot of where the election is and what's transpired this week and looking ahead to this week and next week and saturday night's debate. let's begin with the democrat, tell me about trends and issues and the changing poll numbers. >> the trends are in hillary clinton's favor. this debate saturday at drake will be pivotal moment in deciding whether the race is effectively over or has another act to play out and bernie sanders will be crucial to what democrats decide on that question. hillary clinton leads the polls nationally, ahead in iowa, new hampshire and south carolina. is this race over? bernie sanders will have to tell those watching the debate and democratic activists all over the country there is a reason to keep their minds open, there's a reason to think there ought to be an alternative to hillary clinton. martin o'malley will make the case. but no one is closer to hillary clinton than bernie sanders and
one subplot will be the degree to which martin o'malley and bernie sanders make this case against hillary clinton. she may have moved to the left on some issues, closer to bernie sanders, but is that an authentic move? does she really believe the things she is now saying which she didn't say at the start of her campaign. why is that important potentially? because if democrats begin to make the argument against hillary clinton that she will do or say anything to win the nomination, they will play into the hands of whom? republicans or whomever that party nominates, that will be one of the central charges against hillary clinton that whatever her many talents and great experience, she is inauthentic to her core, and i will be interested to see saturday just how far down that road bernie sanders and martin o'malley go if at all. >> rose: any indication from the bernie sanders camp that they are in fact prepared to take the gloves off? >> i think they are because they know there is a sense that now that joe biden decided as vice president not to enter this race and hillary clinton had by many democratic activists and
party leaders' standards, a very good couple of weeks, she has begun to consolidate her lead in primary caucus states and nationally, this race may fall into a holiday lull where the sense is so strong hillary clinton may wean that bernie sanders may not have another shot. so on the saturday debate stage, he will have to draw a con travments support her candidacy in the general sense but pick apart some of the places she's gone, positions taken and try to say to democrats give me a longer second look because my first look was really good, you've begun to pull away, come back around the second time. >> rose: is there any evidence that there is much that divides the two of them other than an attitude about wall street? >> an attitude about wall street certainly, and it's all about degree, how much would you increase regulation on wall street, how much would you try to bring to account those within the larger banking
structure who haven't been legally brought to account for actions taken that led to the great recession, there are differences there. there might be differences in approach on gun control. hillary clinton likes to say she's more aggressive on that than bernie sanders, that bernie sanders early in his political career was more captive if not to the national rival association those who sympathize with gun rights in his home state of vermont. the one thing bernie sanders can always fall back on in this campaign is to say to democrats, if you want someone who always will say exactly what he is saying now, look at me, hillary clinton can't do that. she can't claim that kind of consistency and authenticity. bernie sanders, yes, he's saying the same things he's been saying for 20 years, the democratic party is moving in his
directions. he spent years and years on the outer hinterland on democratic conversation conversation on these key issues. now he's not. he's center of conversation and when he wants to pitch to democrats, hey, i was right then, tharbled matter, that's a message he'll drive consistently against hillary clinton. >> we saw at the debate the differences emerging or having been there on immigration. where is that republican race now as you see it? >> the republican race, charlie, is still dominated by two political novices who are outsiders to the entire political conversation republicans have had for the past 20 years. donald trump and ben carson are leaders here in iowa, they're leading in new hampshire and they're leading in south carolina. and if you add up their support in those three early primary and caucus states and look at the numbers you have nationally, their supporters constitute roughly 50% to 60% of the likely
caucus turnout among republicans. that's substantial, not only in terms of raw numbers, but significant in that republicans have become so sick of what they consider to be if not fraudulent, unproductive establishment figures that they send to washington that they're looking so far out of their party's main stream to look at the donald trump and ben carson as alternative. will carson and trump's staying power remain? that's the question republicans are asking in iowa and all other primary and caucus states. many republicans who thought trump and carson wouldn't last would have told you that in august, september and october, they're all having to make a reassessment. i was spending time in iowa talking to activist conservative republicans, they believe in iowa the pecking ordered are likely to be on caucus night, donald trump, barnsen and maybe marco rubio or ted cruz. everyone in iowa with the exception of bobby jindal is not
a part of the conversation. >> rose: why do some people believe this race notwithstanding the staying power of ben carson and donald trump that this may end up as a race between marco rubio and ted cruz? >> because the assumption, is as voters get closer to making an ultimate decision, though they may like donald trump and find great things to admire about ben carson's biography, they're not going to imagine them being the nominee of the party or potentially the next president of the united states and they will peel away and that support will land somewhere. if you talk to activists in iowa on the republican side as i have been doing, many believe ted cruz positioned himself certainly here to be the inheriter of people who peel away, if they do, from trump and carson. and many who thought jeb bush would be and remain the frontrunner no longer believe that and look at marco rubio as the most attractive alternative to jeb bush and the likely
recipient of whatever establishment vote doesn't go for jeb bush. so if you assume -- and this is a huge assumption, charlie, that has no basis in fact up until now -- that carson and trump will collapse and that vote has to go somewhere, much of it they believe will go to ted cruz and some to marco rubio and he will clean up the remainder of the "establishment vote," that's the working theory behind the cruz, rubio construct. >> rose: much talk about ben carson and his biography and what he said. has that controversy subsided? >> it has tapered off. i don't think it will ever completely subside because ben carson's biography is a crucial part of what he brings to the table. people here in iowa, new hampshire, south carolina, nevada and other states farther down the calendar find some things very admiral about ben carson's biography. they're drawn to it. so a covenant who isn't driven entirely by his biography but largely sees that as a source of
strength will always have to deal with his biography. so it will never subside completely, but it has tapered off, and the one thing that ben carson has effectively done which most republicans can do if given the opportunity is blame the messenger, that's a message that tends to work with republicans, the media is their supposed aggressor or enemy in the presidential campaigns. ben carson has effectively turned that around a little bit to make the media as much of the issue as the holes in his biography, which in the main, charlie, were not substantial holes. no one doubts that ben carson rose from poverty, had a tough existence, went to yale, succeeded, became a world-renowned neurosurgeon, in the main his biography has not been undercut, some of the underlying specifics, yes, but not the whole biography. >> rose: turn to immigration. there were difference there is. you had jeb bush pointing ought if this sort of mass deportation that donald trump talks about would come to a reality or was
expected from the republican party, you would see high fives in the clinton campaign because they knew that those latino and hispanic voters would roll to the democrats. >> yes, and i will tell you, charlie, based on my conversations in traveling around the country, this is the toughest issue for republicans to reconcile because at the grassroots level many republicans simply believe that illegal immigration is a crime, it has to be prosecuted, it cannot be forgiven. that's the fundamental ideological orientation to the issue and there is really no movement from that. so anything short of deportation, in their minds, constitutes amnesty and amnesty is impermissible in this conversation. yet republicans who will tell you all the things i said, in the next breath will acknowledge in a general election is a perilous message because the latino voters will not respond to it and the demographics indicate for republicans to win nationally, you have to bring
some of the latinos backing into the fold as george w. bush did in 2000 and 2004. there is one mind on the issue, another on the strategy, and this has not been reconciled within the party, has proven difficult for many of the candidates to sort out and will be, i think, among one of the most important conversations within the republican party as this campaign presses on. >> rose: major garrett, thank you so much. major garrett, cbs news white house correspondent. thank you, hope we can do it again. >> i look forward to it. >> rose: back in a moment. stay with us. >> rose: frank gehry is here, one of the most prominent architects of our time and any time. his use of unusual materials and sculptural arts are considered to have changed the direction of architecture. among his designed, the guggenheim museum in spain and the walt disney.
paul goldberger has written the first authorized biography of frank gehry called "building art: the life and work of frank gehry." the "new york times" called it an informative startling journey into the inner sanctions of modern architecture's power structure. pleased to have both of them at the table. welcome. >> thank you. good to be here. >> rose: i am forever in your debt. when i was honored in washington for a nice award, you flew across the country to speak on my behalf, and i am deeply indebted and i want to say that publicly, my friend, because you have given me and this table and whatever i've had control of air waves a remarkable series of conversations. so i am very proud to call you my friend. >> thank you, sir. >> rose: they were a great source for this book. >> i went through all of them,
charlie. took a long time. there were fantastic things. >> rose: why a biography of frank gehry, for you? >> for me, i wanted to do a biography because i had never written one before. it's a way of make shoes of spending a lifetime of writing act architecture. the story of frank and his work is an intriguing one. it's a store that has some of the drama of a novel, really, and that's what i wanted to do while still explaining his architecture to people. >> and it is a fo portrait of architecture in the 20th and 21st century. >> it is and the architect that bridges them. in many ways, frank gehry is farther on the cutting edge but has his feet planted on what
architecture has always been which is beautifully objects, carefully crafted, one of a kind. >> rose: is he more than any other man who probably defines himself as an artist as much as an architect? >> i think what he does is show us those words are not contradictory or inconsistent. he's a real architect and cares about where the toilets go and how things work, about function. but for him, he proves, i think, that it's not a zero-sum game with art, that a building can be a great work of art and still function. it's not an either-or situation with him. it's a both-and situation. >> rose: you and sri talked about this before. you know where i'm going. >> i was called a plumber at your table. (laughter) >> rose: it's not about you, it's about architecture. difference in terms of anything
that has function can possibly be art, which is the argument. >> it's nonsense, it's not an either/or. >> the tradition is, from way back, that artists became architects. the tradition is they started as painters, sculptors and became architects. the epiphany of their career is to become an architect. >> rose: michelangelo. became an architect. greatest of all, this god is called the architect of heaven. so there must be something. >> rose: is he easy to write about because there were diaries and letters and models you could so visibly see? >> well, models are definitely -- frank is not a writer, actually. he's a talker and a thinker, so, you know, there was not a huge archive of written things.
>> rose: not -- a huge archivef interviews. >> many yours. the film of sidney pollack. i did hundreds of interviews with frank and many dozens of other people, but he's never kept a diary, unless he's held it back from me all these years. and he's not a big letter writer. he is an easy -- >> rose: he is a collector of friends. >> he is. i've written forwards. you did forwards, and there was a speech the beginning -- i think it was the beginning of chapter 9 i quoted from a talk you gave and it was the only one that was written down. >> the pulitzer prize i wrote under duress. >> rose: the pulitzerer prize, you have to. >> part of the deal. >> rose: you weren't about to turn it down. >> no, you got up at 5:00 in the morning and wrote it in your hotel room.
>> well, they asked me. >> rose: you're also well-known for your buildings and for your sense of light and space and time. you're also popular. celebrated. famous. that doesn't sit well. you're ambivalent about that at best. >> well, because i'm healthfully insecure as i continue to work. you are, too. i see you that way, anyway. pas we approach each new adventure, new problem, new thing to conquer, you can't come in overly confident or you blow it. and, so, there's a kind of healthy insecurity, and i'm doing a house for a lady now in
california which is a new thing that -- and i haveless nights, and i dream about this thing and i can't get it and i'm suffering. suffering to the point of looking in the mirror and saying, do i really know anything? >> rose: have you ever started projects you think, i'm inspired to do this, i want to do this, i don't know if i can but i have to find out, and then finally said, no, this is not either something i can do, want to do? >> well, as you know me, i back out before i get that far. >> rose: why is that? what's that about? >> well, there is a lot of that in the book about frank pulling out of something or turning direction at the last minute. i think it's one of the ways in which insecurity expresses itself. i think the better way and the healthier way is when he keeps going through it and pushes his
way through it. >> rose: right. the "new york times," i should have stayed. you made me see that once. >> rose: yes, i did. and you were right. when you walked away from the "new york times" commission. >> rose: right. there were other circumstances involved we can't talk about. >> well, there is always a reason. the question is do you keep going anyway? >> i think, usually, before i sign on, if i figure that we're not on the same wavelength -- because so much of what i do depends on a partnership with the client. i really listen to them. >> well, i think there is a certain self-selecting process. somebody who wants a traditional georgian house is not going to go to you in the first place. >> right. they have to want frank gehry. >> rose: or a large white building. >> o air large white building, right. >> i mean, the facebook project, the zuckerberg, is not somebody that's really interested in architecture.
he's driven with his own thing. >> rose: he needs to be working. >> he's focused and brilliant. >> rose: what did he say to you? >> he was -- he came, he saw my house -- >> he saw your office and really liked it and wanted that. >> he came with his wife, saw my house, we had dinner, he saw my office and he said, i love this, your office is how big? i said, close to an acre. he said, i want ten times this. so we did it. >> rose: are you saying -- he didn't get involved very much, he just said this is what i want? >> he got involved at the right points, but there wasn't his thing. he didn't want design with a capital d. >> rose: did you ever have any contact with steve jobs? >> a little bit. that would have been impossible. >> rose: would have been impossible? >> for me. >> rose: he is so pronounced in terms of what he wanted and
his perfection? >> right. norman foster was the right match for a job. >> rose: because? in norman foster's work, there is an absolutely perfect object-like precision and that's what he wanted. whereas frank's work is kind of funkier and looser and that's what facebook wanted, actually. >> so it's the spirit of what i did for my house which is not fansy, build on the, you know, ten acres. >> with the whole roof being a garden, a park on top of it. >> rose: i want to talk about your life. born in canada? >> yes, sir thinking you would want to do what, expecting to do what? >> i don't know. i had a cousin who was a
chemical engineer and he's the only one who looked interesting so i thought about that and i went to a chemical engineer who took me out to his plant and attend of that he said this isn't for you, just from my reaction to him. >> rose: this is from cbs this morning which is a wonderful series called notes to self, in which an older frank gehry speaks to a younger frank gehry with the wisdom of perceived age. here it is. >> you were born frank goalburg in canada in a climate of antisemitism. you will be the only jewish kid in the elementary school and they will beat you up regularly for killing christ. you can't change this. you can't change who you are, so you've got to stay the course. in your family, your mother and father will be tough on you.
your father will be worried that you are a dreamer and you won't amount to much. your mother will compare you to her friends' children and, in her eyes, you'll always fall short. but understand this is their version of love. they had many, many of their own obstacles to overcome. your mother will introduce you to the art gallery of o ontario where you will develop your life-long love of painting and sculpture and she will also take you to hear classical music concerts that will ignite your soul. you know art will be your salvation. >> rose: here's what's interesting about this, paul, help me out on this. the idea is you think buildings should be art and should inspire your soul, that buildings should create an emotion within you.
>> right. >> rose: yes? yeah. they should feel good. at the most mundane level, when you go to a space and it feels good, you feel comfortable, that's a feeling, right? now, can you elevate it just a little so it's engaging other senses, other parts of your intelligence. >> yeah, i think that's exactly right. that's what frank's been trying to do. he was, i think for a long time, wrongly thrown in with the group called the deconstructivists which is about dislocation and disorientation, because you were always after feeling good and uplifted at the same time. >> i asked someone who said no. >> rose: is he an outlier, paul, i think you said this in a
way, who wanted in -- >> yeah, he was an outlier, outsider who wanted in but on his own terms and, ultimately, at this point, he got it, yeah. >> rose: is that a fair definition, you think? you want from outside to be inside but you wanted to be there in your own terms. >> i certainly always wanted to be loved, not adored so much, but to be liked. i didn't know that that was possible. >> rose: but you know what? you do love it. there is a passage in the book. somebody comes over and says i love this, and i love you for doing it. >> oh, yeah, i do. >> rose: in fact, you had your 85th birthday party there and regrated it all over again. >> paul's book by the way generated some interesting responses from developer-client
types that hired me because they thought i could be helpful, but with a little bit of suspicion and maybe the book changed their minds. >> one thing you passed along to me was from a developer who sort of said i have been working with you for a while, i've read the book, now i finally get it. now i finally understand what you're about, what's inside your head and what you're trying to do. >> rose: more from notice to myself and youngerself from cbs this morning about his approach to architecture. >> you will find the profession that makes sense to you and it gives you a sense of personal pride. yoyou will be tested again and again. you will have a teacher tell you, this ain't for you, frank, find another profession. man, just get pissed off, ignore him and vow to prove him wrong. once you find your passion for
architecture, work your tail off to understand and build expertise on every facet of the profession. no matter what you do, however big or small, make it the best thing that you can because you will be judged on everything you do. make sure everything you design and build add heres to your high standards push back on people who try to dilute this mission and partner with people who support the best. take every crisis as an opportunity to do better work. and finally, create buildings in places that engage people. it doesn't mean pandering to historical models of the past. question everything. be curious forever. and never forget that life is
about people. so make buildings for people. and always use natural light, because it's free. (laughter) i couldn't help it. >> rose: the computer really made a difference for you, didn't it? >> it allowed me to do a lot. >> rose: to do what? it allowed me to demystify things that would normally, when those kind of drawings are two-dimensional, are presented to a contractor, they look at it and say, this can't be built. the contractor in l.a., first go around on disney hall in a meeting in front of the board of directors in my office said this building cannot be built. and i was ready for them. i took them downstairs. we had the mockups with all the hard parts of the building already built because of the computer, and he said, oh, i didn't understand.
he's not in business when the building is built. >> i think your imagination was ahead of what engineering and technology could do and the computer allowed those two things to catch up. >> but mainly to express movement. because i was taken by the fidaus sculptures in marble in london, you look at the warriors pressing the shields in the stone and you feel the pressure to have the shields in the stone. you see the horses and they feel like they're moving. there is feeling in the bronzes, if you look at the great bronzes. you have a feeling that that's thousands of years old and transmitted from that artist 3,000 years ago to the present. so you can do things, and we couldn't do it without the computer.
>> rose: it is said, i think, that the sense of your passion for the new has masked that ambition for the new as masked an appreciation for the old which has always been part as you just reflected. >> you understand hi historic architecture almost better than any architect i know and are influenced by it. you just don't believe influence fliewns means mimicking. the influence finds its way in a much more subtle way. >> fortunately, i hung out with a scholar of renaissance at princeton and we have been talking for years. i think what the computer did, though, on the tower on beakman in lower manhattan is we were able to do that curved, flowing
with no change orders, zero change order. that's a big deal. that's 15% less cost. the construction industry wastes, acknowledging, 30%. so if you build a building for $100 million, 30 million is waste, and the computer allows you to do documents that are so precise -- >> rose: that you can minimum me the waste. >> and we were able to, on some of the buildings, save as much as 18%. >> rose: what was your relationship to phillip johnson? >> i loved him, personally. i never got into the german stuff. i once did. >> rose: yeah, i did, too. (laughter) >> you couldn't not at some point become engaged in that. >> rose: basically there was a fascination with the nazi
period. >> well, he was fascinated by the power. i think he was actually attracted physically to the handsome german youth, and the allure of all that kind of blinded him to what was going on politically. i think over the years he sufficiently repented in public for that so it was not fair to hold it against him. >> rose: here is phillip johnson talking about you on this program. do you have any sense of where it's going now? where are we? >> actually, i have. right in the middle of it. and to me, frank gehry is probably the best direction. i'm very proud to find somebody like frank gehry sitting there playing with chain link fences and doing his own house, and i realized there was something i couldn't define.
i couldn't say, gee, i get this direction, that's interesting. i felt baffled. why? because i didn't understand. i said, johnson, you're not understanding that. there is something there. and i worked long enough and there is. >> rose: i should take note of the fact that we're sitting in chairs that belong to you designed by frank gehry. >> they're very good. i recommend them to anybody. >> rose: he's a good talker. a great talker. >> rose: his role in architecture was to define periods and trends and things like that? >> i think his support, for me, was a big deal. >> rose: yeah. he, what? confirmed, certified, something like that? >> yeah, said keep going. he came to the house when it was first built, and he just said -- he just said he didn't understand it. >> right, but he was fascinated
and excited by it and that didn't happen that often with him. he certainly ki did more than anyone else to put the architecture at the center of the main stream culture, phillip johnson, far more important than his own work as an architect. >> when i did the fish lamps, he called me and said, you can't do this, ther this is going to work against your career. two days later, he bought one. >> rose: remember the trip we book to bilbao. >> yeah, that was great. >> rose: he started crying and i said why? and he said, it's so beautiful. >> phillip johnson declared bilbao the most important building of our time before it opened which set it on a trajectory. >> he loved discovering people and he -- remember, he had all of us at his 75th birthday. >> there is a picture of him in
the book of him surrounding by a group of architects that were young and he called them the kids. >> rose: when you think about the work, any regrets? >> no. >> rose: any fork in the road? any assessment that you now make because you had to review a life through a biography? >> i'm very self-critical. >> rose: i know you are. so i do look back, but i can't go into the show they have now. i can't go in it. >> rose: this is in l.a.? yeah. i just resist going back. >> rose: really? and looking at stuff. we've never hired somebody to take pictures of our stuff, which was a big problem because,
when somebody wants to publish it, they want to buy them somewhere and easily, and they're not that good. >> rose: help me understand this, paul. >> frankly, paul doesn't lik --e to look back that much. he's not being falsely modest, but he sees all the anguish and agony of bringing it into being. he doesn't pretend it happens by magic that some shape just jumps out of his head. he knows how much anguish and agony went through every project, and when he goes through an exhibit, you feel that, i guess. you feel that all over again, all the toughness of it, and i remember when we were doing years of interviews for this book, when i looked back at the transcripts, i noticed almost all of them start by 15, 20, 30 minutes talking about what he was doing right then, because he was so much more comfortable doing that than looking back in
the past. so he would talk about -- you would talk about what was on your mind then, what latest stuff you were doing and only then would i push you back and say, okay, we've got to talk about 1950. >> i live in the spirit of invention, which is precarious, where i feel uneasy and somehow i'm happy there. >> rose: you have a passion for sailing. >> yes. >> rose: what's that about? don't you have a new boat or do you? >> i designed a new one. it's not mine. it's a 74-foot boat for a friend here, and he's putting it in my yacht club, which is going to create all kinds of problems for me, but -- >> rose: what was the material? >> wood. >> rose: that's what i thought. >> most new boats are made out of carbon fiber and they're faster. >> rose: right. and i prevailed upon her boat
engineer who is one of the greatest to let me make the wood boat with him, and, so, we made a -- what's called a cold form wood. so when you're in it, you feel like you're in an old boat from way back. >> rose: paul says that you are part frank lloyd wright and part woody allen. >> i've never met woody allen. i had three opportunities to meet frank lloyd wright and i -- >> rose: why? i just felt funny about his politics or his work, the way he talked about his buildings, at broad acre city. >> he was, in fact, very right wing. >> rose: did he have a
friendship with anran? >> i don't know, but he was a big america first-er. part of that whole world which is not so great a political position. >> recently, i watched that interview he had. >> rose: what did you see? i saw somebody i liked. >> rose: really? yeah. it's interesting how he talked about -- >> rose: understood his personality. >> he was the first media architect. >> he was asked it's been said you call yourself the world's greatest living architect. he said, i never said that. they said, well, you're considered. he said, i look around, i don't see much. (laughter) >> rose: the eisenhower memorial. >> it's going.
we're doing it. i think we're doing it. >> rose: if you're asked to compromise beyond where everything tells you to go, what do you do? >> gracefully disappear, yeah. i think, first of all, i read all the eisenhower biographies, ambrose and whatever. >> rose: stephen ambrose. and i fell in love with it because, when he was president, i was in the army and i actually was in his infantry division, by coincidence, and he was, everybody thought, the do-nothing president, that he was playing golf and all that. you read the book and you get a whole different things. >> rose: you sure do. and -- >> rose: he couldn't have done what he did without being all those other things. >> the way he handled
mcarthur. >mcarthur. and montgomery. >> rose: churchill. churchill. >> rose: and roosevelt, all of them. >> so i fell in love, entered the competition, we won, david, jr. was on the jury and selected us. it only became obvious further in that they were taking another position. and apart from them, there was a lot of opposition fueled by the dry house fund, and whoever mr. dryhouse is. the classical. >> there are a lot of people who believe everything in washington should be classical and traditional and don't want to see a modern thing. the heinz hour family made common cause with those people even though their interests were not really the same.
>> david was trying, from the eisenhower commission, saying he didn't say all those things to me. so why he did that, i don't know. >> so to avoid family feuding -- yeah, so if you look at the roosevelt thing, there was family feuding, also. i like susan eisenhower, frankly. she's brilliant, quite a smart lady. >> rose: she was strong. yes. >> rose: you didn't like the word starkatechts, did you? >> the press invented it and then use it as a term against you. >> rose: explain. it's all about the celebrity architect and its a bad term because there is something cheap and glib about it. >> rose: something more than talent? >> it says it's about celebrity not about talent.
>> rose: you want to be identified with an architect because she's celebrated. >> and a sign architecture is more important than the culture it used to be and that's all good but on the other hand they're misreading and misunderstanding what architecture is about and trying to do. >> i didn't like the bilbao effect. but now in hindsight there was a bilbao. >> rose: but it's not so -- but it's not so easily translatable. >> rose: i want to give you a sense of the broadness of this man's life and work. the first one is standing in front of his completed house in santa monica before the change. >> right. not quite finished yet. >> rose: how long did it take you to finish that? >> i don't remember. wasn't that long. >> rose: this is a sketch to have the guggenheim as its shape befins to emerge. this is inside --
>> it's a great scale. model of the hall itself, the inside as it was being finished. >> rose: this is the walt disney concert hall in los angeles. >> right. >> rose: the next one is in paris. >> yes. that was opened a year ago. >> rose: a year ago. that was the concluding part of the book. >> rose: today you're working on the los angeles river? >> right. >> rose: what are you doing there? you said something about calling on your city planning skills. >> the mayor asked me to do something with the l.a. river. he was kind of jealous about the highline and said, we've got 51 miles of river, can't we do something? and i reminded him the high line was a derelict railroad bridge and the river a flood control
project, two different kind of things, so i approached it with his approval as a hydrology project and found there was money to be made if you handled it right that would allow for 15 cities along the river to do development by water reclamation, they'd save money, and i think we said it's $80 million a year conservatively. so it's probably twice that. >> rose: this is the los angeles project, another los angeles project, a children's mental health center. >> the river i'm doing pro-bono and the watts thing is also philanthropic, and we're also doing a school, bringing arts education to elementary schools. >> rose: so you're still getting work. don't need to worry about you? >> no. >> rose: great to see you. thank you, paul.
monumental work. >> thank you. >> rose: "building art: the life and work of frank gehry." by paul goldberger. thank you for joining us. see you next time. for more about this program and earlier episodes, visit us online at pbs.org and charlierose.com. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
the following kqed production was produced in high definition. ♪ and their buns are something i have yet to find anywhere else. >> cause i'm not inviting you to my house for dinner. >> breaded and fried and gooey and lovely. in the words of arnold schwarzenegger, i'll be back. >> you've heard of connoisseur, i'm a common-sewer. >> they knew i had to ward off some vampires or something. let's talk desserts gentle